Open-Space Protection in Cochise County: A Peer-Based Benchmark Analysis
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractNumerous studies compare open space policies in amenity-rich high-growth rural counties in the American West. Less common is research on similar counties before these large population shifts occur. This study selects Cochise County and 18 peer counties to benchmark another important segment of the American West—counties of moderate growth. The intent is not to explain causation between policy and open space characteristics but instead to expose open space trends among peers that may be valuable for Cochise County planners. The study begins by reviewing the role of open space in the American West before discussing the federal, state, and local policy context. Interviews with planners and a review of comprehensive plan policies at each county then provide material to benchmark Cochise County and offer recommendations. The results demonstrate that Cochise County planners take a relatively modest approach to open space planning and may benefit from: 1. Elaborating on the Comprehensive Plan purpose 2. Employing stronger language for open space goals 3. Including all applicable goals of open space protection 4. Increasing the number of moderately worded open space tools 5. Recognizing cooperation as a key to open space protection 6. Maintaining strong leadership Expected population growth and a high demand for Cochise’s many natural and cultural amenities only reinforce the need for these recommendations.
Degree ProgramGraduate College